Tag Archives: bollywood

BOOK CORNER: Amitav Ghosh … A CRITICAL COMPANION

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

Amitav Ghosh

A CRITICAL COMPANION

Edited by Tabish Khair

    In the next twenty minutes or so I would take you through one of the finest pieces of narration. Where, one legend describes the other. Yes, when, Amitav Ghosh describes Satyajit Ray this is all one can say. Amitav Ghosh is a winner of 54th Jnanpith award and also a Padma Shri. I have pulled out this narration from a book titled ‘Amitav Ghosh … a critical companion.’ I have summarised and simplified the article for you to the best of my ability.

    Amitav in this article of his, has gone back to 1989. When he was enjoying his extended stay in the overwhelming city of New York. He had then finished writing of The Shadow Lines. The novel for some reason had a striking influence of Ray in it.

    He was then struck by a sudden wave of Ray nostalgia. And it struck to him that Ray too had once been a stranger in this city and that he too had walked the streets of Manhattan in Kolkata—bought shoes.

     One day, these pent up thoughts propelled Amitav to meet director James Ivory, who he knew to be a good friend of Ray. And later that week he went to interview Ivory, cassette recorder in hand. This is how Ivory described his first meeting with Ray, in the winter of 1960.

    “I looked him up in Calcutta,’ Ivory said. I had never met him. I had seen at that point, Pather Panchali (Song of the Road) and Aparijito (Undefeated). I knew that Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) existed and that sooner or later it would get to New York, but up till then it hadn’t come. And then some Indian friends of mine in Delhi said that apart from The Trilogy he had also made some other films in that time—the late fifties. They described Jalsaghar (The Music Room) to me and that sounded like something I would love to see. Then I made a long trip to Calcutta and went down to Puri and Bhubaneshwar and Madras. While I was in Calcutta I just decided to call him. Just to meet him, but also to ask him if it would be possible to see Jalsaghar. My friend in Delhi said he was very approachable (which he was) and I just called him up. He was in the phone book, so I just called him up and told him who I was. He said fine, he would try and arrange Jalsaghar for me. We agreed to meet in Coffee House and I went there. He was alone and we talked.

    He was immensely tall; he was probably the tallest Indian I have ever met and that seemed symbolically apt. He had a kind of straight forward majesty about him; he was obviously a king, but he was an approachable king. We were friends all his life as long as he lived. Whenever there was something he needed we tried to help. He always helped us. When there was some tremendous thing that would happen to us in the course of our own movie making in India—for instance when Utpal Dutt was put in prison (for his Maoist sympathies) while we were making ‘The Guru’ he helped to get him out. He called up or wrote to Mrs Gandhi and said this is a disgrace, this shouldn’t be allowed—things like that.”

    I asked Ivory what they talked about at that first meeting. ‘He was waiting in the coffee house.’ Ivory said, ‘while the censor was seeing Devi (the Coffee House was in the shadow of the Metro Cinema). Then somebody came from his staff and said that Devi had gone down well with the censors. He was kind of nervous about it because of the retrograde view of Hindu life at its most superstitious let’s say. He was afraid they would make him cut it. But no, it had gone down all right, and he said, would I like to come to the premiere of it, which I did, so I saw the film at the premiere and I was also introduced to Sharmila Tagore, who was very young then. And then he arranged for me to see ‘Jalsaghar’ so he went to the studio in Tollygunge where he made all his films and he sat next to me and translated for me at important moments. I thought it was a marvellous, marvellous movie and I jumped up and told him so at the end. He was surprised that I thought it was so marvellous. He said, well, he thought technically it wasn’t so good, wasn’t quite up to the mark. I said well, it didn’t strike me like that and I asked if there were any plans to show it in the west for I thought people would really like it. He said no, he didn’t have any plans. It had been shown at the Moscow Film Festival but the Russians didn’t like it because they thought it was decadent and that had discouraged him. I said, I thought he might get a different reception in the west if he pursued it. It was released here in the fall of 1963, and as you know a few years ago it was released in Paris and it was a tremendous success—ran for a year or something.’

    Ray was to collaborate with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant on two of their films: he wrote the music of Shakespeare-wallah and helped with the editing of ‘The Householder.’ I asked Ivory how the collaboration had come about.’ After ‘Householder’ was edited,’ he said ‘he still seemed very unwieldy, not very nicely done. I didn’t really have a very good editor—by this time I had met him (Ray) and I asked if I could bring the film to show him. He said sure come on. So Ismail (Merchant) and I climbed on the train—we took the Hindi version of it, all those cans, there must have 24 cans or something. We went from Bombay to Calcutta with all that film. He saw it and liked it—he thought there was something there to work with. I asked him whether he could give us any suggestions about the cutting and he said, yes. He would recut it, but he didn’t want me to interfere while doing that. He said let me have a go at it, I’ll do it my way, you can be in the editing room if you want to be, when we’re all done you can change it if you want to, that’s your business, but let me do what I want to do. So then, he and his editor Dulal Dutt recut the film. They took about four days, and gave it a new shape. It was he (Ray) who suggested that it go into a flashback form.

    Ray was always awfully generous with his time, always, always. I don’t know how he did it; because there was always many many people there, who wanted things done, people who just came to catch a glimpse of him and so on. How he had any kind of life of his own and how he made his movies I don’t know.

    Pather Panchali, to my mind the greatest of Ray’s films, was completed in 1955. It premiered not in Kolkata, but in New York, at the museum of Modern Art. This is how it came about: in 1954 Huston was on his way to India to scout locations for The Man Who Would Be King, when he came to hear of a young advertising-executive who was making a film on a tiny budget. By the time Huston arrived in Kolkata, the film had been stalled for several months, because of lack of money. At the time of Huston’s visit the dominant genre in India was the Bombay film. Ray’s work took Huston by surprise. It was apparent from the rushes that this film belonged in a different order of film-making. Huston was quick to recognize the genius of work. He viewed only twenty-minutes or so of the film, but recalling the occasion in 1987, he said: I’ recognised the footage as the work of a great film-maker.’ Returning to the United States, Huston’s reports of the film were instrumental in persuading the Museum of Modern Art to send Ray some money. MOMA’s advance went a long way towards the completion of Pather Panchali.

    Hollywood had long cast a binding spell on Ray: he was an ardent admirer of such American film-makers as John Ford and Billy Wilder. Although he never worked there. Hollywood came to play a peculiarly serendipitous role in his life; never more so than when one of his idols, John Huston, made it possible for him to complete Pather Panchali. And thus it happened that this most famous of contemporary Indian films premiered not in Kolkata or Mumbai, but in New York. It was first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in April 1955, to a small invited audience.

    Pather Panchali was released in the US (by Edward Harrison) in September 1958 at New York’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. The release was the occasion of Ray’s first visit to the country: he was then thirty-seven. The reception of the film was by no means uniformly enthusiastic. As Ivory describes it: ‘There was a famous review by Bosley Crowther which was meant to have been such a putdown. I read that again the other day and actually he was trying to like it. He was baffled, he made false assumptions, he didn’t really know what to say, but he had to admit that he knew or felt, somehow, dimly that there was something great there and he better not say something too bad about it. And apparently there were many people who wrote angry letters about his review.”

    Thirty one years later, in Columbia University’s Butler Library, I dug up a copy of an interview that Ray gave to Howard Thompson (of the New York Times) on the day of the release. Ray evidently made quite an impression on Thompson: ‘A strapping swarthy chap, with strong features, he (Ray) talks like a realistic poet, without the slightest foreign accent, looking fresh from the American gridiron.’

    Thompson continues: ‘On the day after his arrival he (Ray) stepped inside a fashionable hotel dining room, comfortably clad in occidental garb, and gamely stooped to let the head waiter pin on a Plaza tie. Presently, wearing a casually alert expression, the big rangy Calcuttan sat at a table, opening a package of cigarettes with long, tapering fingers. He had been up early, he said, just walking, camera in hand, an old habit of ‘an old film fam.’

    This is how Ray described the filming of Pather Panchali to Thompson: ‘We shot in and around Calcutta, then had to stop for six months because I was flat broke. I even sold part of my record collection, some old seventy-eights of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven—and part of my wife’s jewelry, not that her mother knew. All that was shown again to the same (financiers). No reaction. Then a year’s gap.’

    Ray was able to continue filming only because of an unlikely intervention: a powerful West Bengal politician, reputed to be ‘close’ to one of Ray’s aunts, authorised a grant from the state government. He was under the impression evidently, that Pather Panchali was a documentary about community development.

    In response to a question about the future of Indian film, Ray told Thompson: ‘I don’t know if our pictures generally will ever spread to a world market, though we have two or three young directors with the right ideas. Our industry centers productionally in Bengal, Madras and Bombay, but those from Bengal are better, more serious. As for why you don’t see more of ours—well, we have our own problems and we’re not so sure Westerners care.’

    ‘The generous mouth widened slightly,’ Thompson continues. ‘Do you?’ he enquired. The penetrating brown eyes twinkled pensively.

    Looking back now, I am sure more than ever aware of the part that Ray played in shaping the imaginary universe of my childhood and youth. I see this even in such details as my interest in science and science fiction; in ghost stories and the fantastical. One of my favourite Ray films to this day, remains Paras Pathar (The Philosopher’s Stone), a neglected masterpiece that deserves a place of honour in the canon of surrealist cinema. When I saw Agantuk (The Stranger), in which the main character is an anthropologist, I began to wonder whether my interest in anthropology too, owed something, perhaps subconsciously, to Ray: I recalled suddenly that references to anthropology go back to some of his earliest work, starting with the African mask in Apur Sansar.

    Ray’s influence extended even to the material world that I inhabited in my early years; a world which he formed to a quite astonishing degree through his influence on typography and through his visual style—a style that was itself a development on a distinctive design traditions of Bengal. That he could exert such great influence was due in part to the fact that this work extended and developed the legacy of the generations preceding his. His greatness as an artist is no way diminished by the fact that he was a rivet in an unbroken chain of aesthetic and intellectual effort that stretches back to mid-nineteenth century—a chain in which I too am, I hope, a small link.

    Ray was for me, not just a great artist; he was something even rarer; an artist who had crafted his life so that it could serve as an example to others. In a world where people in the arts are often expected, even encouraged, to be mindful of those around them, he was exemplary in his dealings with people. This was, I think one of the reasons why he was able to sustain his creative energies for as long as he did: because he refused to make a fetish of himself. As a student I had heard him speak on several occasions: it always seemed to me that there was something very private about his manner. I had the sense that it was by holding the world at arm’s length that he had managed to be as productive as he had. This was a stance I respected then and respect even more today, now that I am more aware of how easy it is to be distracted by the demands of public life.

    Ray was consistent in fighting off the pressures of the wider world. After the success of Pather Panchali he was feted by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. It was a measure of his integrity that he never allowed their praise and attention to distract him from his own projects. Unlike many other film-makers in India, Ray consciously avoided seeking government financing for his projects, preferring to raise the money from commercial sponsors. He was always deeply aware of his audience in Kolkata and gloried in the discipline they imposed on him—primarily that of keeping his work accessible. This meant that he could never permit himself the luxury of avant-gardism in the manner of his European contemporaries such as Fellini, Bergman and Godard: nor indeed did he ever want to. To the end one of his greatest strengths was his ability to resolve enormously complex plots and themes into deceptively simple narrative structures.

    My favourite Ray story is one I came upon soon after I learnt of the appalling human cost of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Once, while filming an overhead shot, a falling piece of machinery gravely injured a studio-hand who was working on one of Ray’s sets. Ray never used an overhead shot again.

    In 1992 when Hollywood awarded him an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, Ray was so ill that he received the award lying in his hospital bed. The scene was broadcast on TV and when I saw it I realized that Ray’s illness was so serious that he might not recover. I had always assumed I would meet Ray one day, but I had never made an effort to seek him out. He was such an integral part of my imaginative world that I’d fought shy of meeting him face-to-face: what can one possibly say to someone to whom one owes so great a debt? In 1989 and 1990 I had had several telephone conversations with him. In one of them he’d told me that he greatly enjoyed my first novel, The Circle of Reason. Now I saw that it was I who had been remiss in expressing my admiration and gratitude. In light of his condition this assumed a sudden urgency. I decided to write a letter to Ray, asking if I could visit him. My letter began:

    Dear Mr Ray,

    I have wanted to write to you for many years now, but have always put it off because I knew it would not be easy to say what I wanted too …

It ended:

    The Japanese have a custom which allows people to pay homage to artists they admire by standing outside their houses, alone and in silence, until they are invited in. you are the only person in the world for whom I would gladly do that …

    The letter was dated February 6, 1992. I gave it to Shri Nirmalaya Acharya, a close associate of Ray’s and himself one Kolkata’s legendary literary figures (now sadly deceased and much-missed by all who knew him). Nirmalaya-babu promised to hand it to Ray once he was well enough to read. Alas that day never came: Satyajit Ray died on April 23 1992.

    The day of Satyajit Ray’s death was like none that Kolkata had ever seen before. When the news began to spread, a pall of silence descended on the city. Next morning hundreds of thousands of people filed past his body, braving the intense heat. In the evening when his body was taken to the crematorium, the streets were thickly lined up with people standing in silent vigil. Many held up placards which referred to him as ‘The King.’ The whole city was sunk in an inexpressible sadness: everybody knew that an era had ended, and with it, Kolkata’s claim to primacy in arts. The city was orphaned: its king was gone and there was none to take his place.

    I wandered the streets for hours that night, watching the silent crowds, reading the placards. I was surprised by the depth of my own sense of loss. Yet I was conscious also of an immense sense of privilege, of gratitude, that having been born in Kolkata I had, in some small way, been endowed with a special entitlement to Ray’s universe; gratitude at having had his work to illuminate my surroundings and my past. This is what narrative arts do, at their very best: they shape the world as they relate them. To this day Ray’s work is one of the main anchors that moors me—often despite myself—to the imaginative landscape of Bengal: indeed, to the essential terrain of my own work.

Amitav Ghosh

January 17, 2002

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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LONELINESS–I’M IN ELECTRONIC COMPANY

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    My home is like a neat diagram of wilderness now. Things are only quiet here. Life’s hullabaloo is over. There aren’t any vital unanswered questions left in my life to be unraveled any more … barring the ultimate one—death. But surprisingly, I have been handed out, some stiff situations in life that I never asked for in the first place, and that of course includes, certain wayward realities … the most striking one being, loneliness. After deep introspection, it appears to me like those divine semaphores. There is a world of emptiness around me.  It’s taken me more than sixty years to reach this stage. But I didn’t have to struggle for it, the way I struggled for my career and the upbringing of my family. It came on its own, uninvited. I stay in a megapolis—infested largely by a swarm of people occupying those tall blaring buildings all around me. Yet I’m all alone. And what an irony. For in a jungle, I would have been with, unknown but ferocious animals. But in the megapolis I’m with familiar yet unpredictable human beings. Nonetheless, I really can’t decipher which is more dangerous.

    I have a time deprived family. They keep extremely busy. Mostly fire-fighting. So one day I approached God. Thinking he’ll give me company. But then he too has to run the universe, and so, he is very busy in his own world and doesn’t have time for me. Finally, I’ve learnt to live life king size, alone. So I keep busy one way or another. They say life has become easy, yet mind is never at rest. There is always something spooky about life that keeps hovering around me.

    No one comes to my house, and when I attempt to visit someone I’m told they are going out. The timidity to interface … thus continues. I’m told this happens with most of us but we rarely speak about it.

    But, ever since, flesh and blood averted me. My electronic friends have come to my rescue. I have them in droves, steadying my life. I start my day with them. In the night they take that extra pain to put me off to sleep. The smart phones and TV sets bring, so many of my electronic friends to my home each day.

    I now have electronic friends in the likes of Mr Bachchan visiting me all day long showing little gimmicks loaded with huge parables. Where, Arnab Goswami tells me all about the world. Even, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks into my house in his own electronic attire to tell me how he is serving India and even Rahul Gandhi and Donald Trump are not far away. To top it all, entire Youtube, Bollywood and even Hollywood is at my command.

    Loneliness is the biggest scourge of the present day world. Yet life finds solutions for each catastrophe. Just as you can’t think of a life without flesh and blood, you can’t think of a life without your own electronic friends anymore. Can you?

    This is to cajole all those who suffer because of loneliness. Rise up … get up … do something to kill it.

***

  By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THE GIRL IN ROOM 105 … by Chetan Bhagat

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE GIRL IN ROOM 105

By Chetan Bhagat

    Chetan Bhagat this time has tried his hand in a different genre. From writing love stories he has tried to move to a thriller that has romance … melodrama and even suspense. Although, he has tried to shift in the category. He continues to remain in the same quadrangle … IIT. A place he loves the most … I guess. As the story largely unfolds there.

    The book is full of masala … only a little short of the proverbial … Bhan mati ka pitara. The novel navigates, giving an impression as if it’s been written for a Bollywood movie. At one place I am even reminded of Hindi movie ‘Parwana’ starring Amitabh Bachchan and Navin Nischol released in 1971.

    Chetan has written this book with a lot flashbacks. I would have preferred the book to be around 225 to 250 pages and not 300 pages. As the last fifty pages are a bit of a drag. Also one is more comfortable with the disclosure of suspense within 250 pages as it becomes difficult to hold on beyond that.

    Author has used a lot of cuss words including some Hindi abuses that only mars his own reputation. His language as usual is clumsy. But he has done some good detailing with respect to the portions where the main protagonist endeavours to solve the murder and has used the right terminologies when it comes to technical words.

    The book can also be classified as a love story with murder mystery as an inbuilt plot.

    All prominent characters of the book are alive barring one till the end. In fact around the last 30 pages at one place I found the presentation a tad similar to a Hollywood movie—Murder by Death written by Neil Simon.

    STORYLINE

    Keshav Rajpurohit is an ex IIT student. After passing out from IIT he could never find himself a lucrative job in the corporate sector. So he joins a coaching centre as a faculty that coaches students for IIT entrance. With him is also his durable friend Saurabh who also happens to be his room partner, or I should say his house partner and also his colleague in the coaching centre and his batch mate from IIT.

    It once so happens, that Keshav bumps into Chetan Bhagat on a flight where he starts narrating the story of his girlfriend Zara to him. Zara is the second main character of this novel.

    Keshav had met Zara some seven years back. Their friendship gradually evolved into a strong courtship and finally into a hot love affair. But since their families were quite different. His coming from Alwar where his father was a senior member of the RSS, and where, Zara was from a Muslim family from Kashmir. A divide was but obvious and separation a strong possibility.

    After this Raghu a Tamilian Brahmin enters Zara’s life. An industrious person, again a pass out from IIT, now an owner of a thousand crore start-up company. Raghu is not a good looking. So when Zara discusses marriage he readily agrees, and he even agrees to convert to Islam. Both are thus engaged and even a date for their wedding is announced.

    But Keshav, after the breakup is unable to forget Zara. He therefore out of lovelorn, starts boozing regularly and even gets into binge drinking. Keshav tries his best to win over Zara once again, but fails in all his attempts.

    But surprisingly on Zara’s birthday. Keshav receives a whatsapp message from her. She invites him to her hostel room which is 105, in Himadri, IIT Delhi. Keshav goes to meet her at 3 in the morning along with his friend Saurabh. While Saurabh waits downstairs. Keshav climbs the mango tree and enters her room. Where, he finds Zara lying dead on her bed.

    Terrified, both Keshav and Saurabh inform the police. SHO Rana of Hauz Khas Police Station reports at the crime scene and starts investigation on fast track. Under media pressure he hauls up Laxman, the security guard of the hostel for the crime.

    The thrill starts after this. When Keshav feels, Laxman is not the real killer, and it is a doing of someone else. So, he decides to go all out, to unravel the crime along with Saurabh. The plot seems quite farfetched as they even travel to Kashmir and come in close contact with a terrorist gang there. The plot doesn’t quite fit with the character of the protagonists—Keshav and Saurabh who are just a faculty with a coaching centre.

    Well … if he is doing it for the cause of unceasing love than obviously the book turns into a tragic love story with an inbuilt murder mystery. The chief protagonist Keshav does mention the word ‘Únlove’ towards the end of the novel which only denotes love in a subtle manner. Or it could even be a marketing gimmick—who knows. The lighter side of the book is filled up by the nok-jhok between Keshav and Saurabh which is interesting.

    Before the murder mystery is solved. The author takes you through all the suspects that includes Zara’s father; Zara’s cousin … Sikander; Professor Saxsena … Zara’s PhD guide; Captain Faiz Khan, Zara’s childhood friend and even Raghu.

    It has angles of honour killing, a terrorist job, jealousy and even a straightforward accident. You’ll find out when you read it. Finally after helicoptering and hovering over a long period of time the suspense eventually lands and unravels.

    The book is in easy read format … somewhat Hinglish at times. It was definitely not a page turner for me and did not impact me in any significant manner. The book is more for the college going students who would be able identify themselves with the plot and the characters therein.

    It is also quite awful when it comes to tenses, punctuation, editing, sentence structuring. But even with all that Chetan Bhagat sells. So isn’t he lucky. Well God is with him.

    I would like to give this book six out of ten.

  Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

Author & Blogger

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

   

BOOK CORNER: THE BEST THING ABOUT YOU IS YOU! … Anupam Kher

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

 

THE BEST THING ABOUT YOU IS YOU

ANUPAM KHER

    It is indeed the unwritten duty of any celebrity to talk about himself as it only benefits people who are struggling, especially the younger generation. After reading this book your respect for Anupam Kher will only go up. Because it takes layers of guts to talk about yourself. Conversely, you have that elbow room to demean yourself when you’ve climbed the ladder to be in the world of the superstars.

    The book is all about Anupam and the ruthless world. And in that he has carved out a fascinating web between the normal dos and the don’ts of the day-to-day existence. But then the big question remains. Why did Anupam write this book? Was it because he had gone bankrupt at the prime of his career as he mentions in the book and he wanted his bankruptcy to appear inconsequential. Or was it that he wanted to publicise his struggle, his success, that he undertook to go up in the eyes of his fans. Or he wanted to tell his fans that the making of someone like Anupam Kher is not an easy task and it is a long drawn battle.

    Any which way you take it. The book conveys a tough message in a very crisp manner. It is an assortment of lovely dictums, quotes, examples, fables, parables, verses, anecdotes and causeries under a single bind.

    Since the beginning of his career Anupam Kher had immense challenges. These challenges only got accentuated when he decided what he wanted to do—become an actor. Now this was not easy, because his father was a low division clerk in Himachal Government and thus a lowly paid employee.

    He devotes the book to his Grandfather, who taught him—‘Bheega hua aadmi barish se nahi darta’ (A drenched man is not scared of rain).

    Now, where was acting and where was Anupam. His one leg was marginally shorter than the other which very few know even today. He already had signs of balding at the age of twenty-three, when he had aspired to become an actor. But then he delivered royally.

    The book in some ways is his own biography. Well decorated and well presented. Anupam is an actor with over 450 films in his repertoire. And an illustrious journey from Shimla to Bollywood. So, you can imagine what he gets to the table. The book has a string of updesh and worldly sermons.

    It has some fifty chapters and each chapter is a lesson by itself. If you run through the book words like … unhappy/know thyself/anger/discontent/analyse yourself/comparison/ change/relationships/happiness/detached/attached/relive/relearn/present/past/understand ourselves/motivation/ego/laugh at yourself/the power within/value yourself/life/fables/handling blues/forgiveness/love/gurus/excess baggage/friends/fear/inhibitions/children/grandparents/hope/a good story/smile/joy/value/failure/friendship/adaptability/today/tomorrow/death

    I’m placing these words for you as it’ll give you a flavour of the book.

    Each chapter is around 4-5 pages on an average. The best part about the book is you can start reading from any page and in any mood. There is no penetrating storyline. And it is all about the tall experiences of Anupam Kher.

    The book is written in easy English that anyone can comprehend. The presentation and optics are wonderful where the publishers, Hay House have done a good job but the persona of the book is more like a coffee-table format. All along the narration Anupam is on the top.

     And finally, as the Greek philosopher Aristotle had sounded long time back. Anupam lives up to it. For him excellence is a matter of habit and not an act. He first excelled in acting and now he is doing so, by penning a book.

    Congratulations to Anupam on this great feat. Friends, pick it up if you want to become like Anupam.

    I would give the book eight out of ten.

    The first reprint of this book was done in 2012.

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOKISH VIEW: SUPERSTAR INDIA–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–SHOBHAA DE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

TITLE: SUPERSTAR INDIA

–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–

SHOBHAA DE

PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN IN 2008– 456 pages 

Abridged for a quick read

 

    The book is full of masala … quite like the proverbial Bhanmati ka pitara—the wonder casket. It seems, whatever, dawned her mind and heart. She just penned it down—so in many ways she has opened her heart. Shobhaa is, as old as independent India. So, she runs through India keeping that in mind, in her flamboyant narrative style. But the content is quite scattered and even skewed at places. In fact any regular gazer of a newspaper or a periodical may find a great amount of familiarity with the content. So, while reading the book the reader might just start reminiscing, where he or she had read it earlier. As ‘SUPERSTAR INDIA’ is not some deeply treasured secret in this day and age of internet, driven by search engines, and the aggressive paper and electronic media. So a lot of it seems to be a lift-off from there. True enough. The book is well styled, well ornamented, orotund, and is quite generous. With the munificent usage of ‘within-the-brackets’ that simplifies or elaborates the meaning of many of its subtle sentences—her aristocratic and well born writing style—I guess. Also, in galore there are ellipses and punctuation marks. The narration is loudly verbose but with sound construct of sentences, of course to zenith the literary astuteness. In a nutshell it is a good detailing of, the already circulating India’s contemporary and ancient history of those times, in a monotonous and drowsy speed and style. Where, she could have sharpened the content by not leaving it open ended and maybe with some sub-chapters and even span breakers.

    Nevertheless, the book also has some latent strengths, within the long spans of boredom. She is indeed very bold and doesn’t spare anyone which is plus point. She brings in a wide range of topics. But it doesn’t tie up all to well, to derive any lessons of life. So an average reader may not find it very interesting. Especially, if he has mistook the book for an interesting stretched out story. Although the title of the book is SUPERSTAR INDIA. But in reality she is more critical than appreciative about her. Where, I’m forced to think. As to why did Shobhaa think of writing this book at all? It remains a mystery to me. Did she want to criticize the West? Or did she want to praise India. Down the line she also criticizes Indian men to raise the flag of Indian women? She praises India only when she compares her with the Western World. Otherwise, she is critical about her most of the times.

    She starts off well with her visit to Agra but then she goes all over the place after some sixty odd pages. Where, she covers personalities, political system, Indian beliefs, Hollywood, Bollywood, the Mayawatis and the ilks, schedule caste and tribe in great detail. 

    She downloads most of what she knows about India. But then it does not add up to a formidable plot. No doubt she throws her heart out, by being abusive, frank and quite unbothered. But all of that doesn’t churn into an interesting read. Let’s not forget the acid test of any book is the impact it leaves behind after you’ve completed it. She has flagged some great facts and some interesting points as mentioned below:

    People still correlate Bollywood with old songs and not the new ones/She appreciates India here and there, but also criticizes her, no end. But when she compares India with the western world she begins to praise her/Describes how India is evolving sexually/Talks about Indian realities/Promotes the Taj Mahal/Paints a picture of Indian hospitality/Book satisfies the Indian ego but only partially. As it even magnifies the chinks of Indian civilzation/Reveals many hidden facts about Indian Corporate Inc/Facts about foreign citizens of Indian origin … like Zubin Mehta and Laxmi Narain Mittal to name a few/India’s great culture of sacrifice/She sounds like an American Born Confused Desi (ABCD) herself. When she makes fun of Indians when it comes to their age old customs and habits/Her views are quite clear about how we treat our elders/describes an Indian family life/ She also talks of metro cities and its cultures but doesn’t go so much in detail about the rural areas barring the established religious and social practices/Indian weddings including destination weddings/Intermittently even speaks of her family/Talks about big brother America and page 3 culture/At quite a few places it is India versus the Western world/Talks of Indian spices in the US/Talks of Indians being superior in many ways where she builds the tempo in certain pages/Very vividly she describes the contemporary lifestyle  of the Indian megapolis/Indian shamelessness while defecating in the open/She even errs out to see love making in Bombay chawls/Bathroom habits/Death rituals/Bombay municipal corporation/Describes Indians as sex machines/Writes quite bluntly about sex/Talks about ‘nazar’—the evil eye. And calls herself a firm believer of that/She even talks of death rituals/ She is very bold and doesn’t spare anyone—is what I liked about the book/She is descriptive but doesn’t connect the dotted lines/ She describes the lives in China and Pakistan quite well.

 Some catchy lines from the book

    ‘When all hell fails, we pull out Gandhi. The Mahatma has saved India’s ass in more ways than one. If he only knew how frequently and arbitrarily we use the Gandhi trick to impress outsiders.’

    ‘Most Indians are like elastic bands, ready to stretch themselves or shrink, depending on circumstances.’

    ‘Adjust’ is a favourite word in India, and is used across the board, even by those who barely speak intelligible English.’

    ‘The trouble is Indians aren’t used to being prosperous. We are more comfortable dealing with poverty—after all, poverty is a staple here, and has been for centuries.’

    Well … if you have the glorious time and patience pick it up.

*****  

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

BOLLYWOOD, CRICKET & loc

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

indian-jawan

    At times it appears the Indian Army Jawan, who fights terrorism at the Line of Control is only fighting to save his own house, but in reality he is fighting for all of us. But the tragedy with Indians is that they show no solidarity with him. Our Prime Minister preaches so much about terrorism in all international forums. But back home India is a divided and selfish lot. People from all professions are only self-centered about themselves and their professions. We don’t realise by behaving in this insensitive manner tomorrow, people may desist from fighting for the country. What will happen then? There is indeed a greater need to feel for our brave jawans and we must perennially keep their morale high. Colonel Anil Chawla puts it quite beautifully.

…………………………………..

Col Anil Chawla, a serving soldier of the INDIAN ARMY wrote this:

Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan?

No, it most certainly will not.

BUT there is an emotion called solidarity.

YOU CANNOT MAKE FILMS, PLAY CRICKET, AND DO BUSINESS AS IF EVERYTHING IS FINE, BECAUSE IT IS NOT.

indian-jawan-3indian-jawan2

It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”

This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”

Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?

Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier.

The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.

18 families have been shattered like glass … But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems …”

…………………………………

    Film Stars have nothing to do with terrorism…

    Singers have nothing to do with terrorism ….

    Writers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Directors have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Performers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Journalists have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Activists have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Cricketers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Politicians have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Businessmen have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Professionals have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Lawyers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Then for whom are the Jawans sacrificing their lives for?

    Jai Hind.

*****

NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI HAS EVERY RIGHT TO ACT IN RAMLILA

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

 

By stopping Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Muzaffarnagar, from playing the role of Maaricha, uncle of Ravan, in the local Ramlila, after 20 years, Shiv Sena has stood out like a thorn in the society. Ramlila is a famous play enacted each year, all over India and even abroad. Let me for a moment juxtapose Muzaffarnagar with Lucknow on Ramlila. Both have been holding it since ages. Where, Lucknow is even more famous. For a lot of Muslim actors take part in the local Ramlila, and at times they even go on and on with their acting, even when they are keeping Rozas during Ramzan, if it happens to fall in the same month. This intermingling is the ultimate beauty, of one and only one—India. We are no deep state, but the biggest democracy of the world. Where, Ramlila, Dushera, Durga Puja and Diwali are our tall, widespread, cultural and festive totem-poles. Ramlila is therefore our Indian-ness. That belongs, to we Indians, and not Hindus alone. Nawazuddin is our own son. Rather the worthy son of Muzaffarnagar, and now even of India, who entertains us through his movies. He was born and brought up in Muzaffarnagar. So, Shiv Sena cannot just snatch away the colourful memories of his childhood by not allowing him to act in his home theatre 20 years later. He is free to visit his childhood the way he wants in his own city. Muzaffarnagar is amassed in him, so you just can’t dig it out like that. Shiv Sena needs to understand this. And, last but not the least, you just can’t seize hold of any Indian’s Indian-ness, by just citing his religion, because there is a fine distinction between Religion and Culture.

*****

Article: Bollywood between Diamond and Platinum Jubilee

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Bollywood between diamond and Platinum jubilee  

Remake: epic serial ‘Mahabharat’ starring superstars

 

    Bollywood’ is the sobriquet for the Hindi film industry that is based out of Mumbai. The term is also, loosely used, as a synecdoche to refer to the whole of Indian cinema. It has made millions and trillions through movies. And has a huge Indian following. The name has even made ripples abroad. It has now been in existence for more than eighty five years. Raja Harishchandra, was the first silent feature film made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. By 1930s, the Indian Film Industry was producing over 200 films per annum. Since then it has never looked back. It is one of the largest film producers in India. Representing 43% of net box office revenue. While Telugu and Tamil cinema represent 36%. The rest of the regional cinema constitutes 21% as of 2015. It is also one of the largest centers for film production in the world. Formally referred to as ‘Hindi cinema.’ It is one of the biggest movie industries in the world, in terms of the number of people employed and the number of films produced in 2011. Where, over 3.5 billion tickets were sold across the globe. Which in comparison is 900,000 tickets more than Hollywood.

    Hitherto, Bollywood, has functioned quite enviously, under different banners for more than eighty five years. And has given us some wonderful movies. But it is about time. It now comes under one united banner. To give India the entertainment of a lifetime—the real dhamaka of the century.

    It missed the lifetime opportunity of a diamond jubilee celebration. And platinum is still far away. But by then many superstars of today may hang their boots. So now is the right time. To produce a mega serial where all the diggajes of Bollywood can come together and act, and for the sake of Bollywood’s commemoration they should act free. If we delay it further. We may miss out on many such great actors coming together as they may call it a day. The idea is to make them act together in a mega project. Which may not be possible in a three hour movie. I would therefore suggest a remake of the great epic ‘Mahabharat’ which is still the most popular serial ever made in the Indian history.

    Imagine how would you feel watching Mahabharat. Scripted by the all time famous duo of Saleem-Javed as was done in Sholay, music by A.R Rehman, songs by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsale, Anuradha Podwal, Anup Jalota and Bhupendra (unfortunately Kishore and Mukesh are no more). And my dream my caste. To name a few would be: Amitabh Bachchan as Bheeshma Pitamah, Nana Patekar as Dronacharya, Anupam Kher as Mahatma Vidur, Ajay Devgun as Krishna, Amir Khan as Karan, Shahrukh Khan as Yudhistir, Salman Khan as Bheem, Kritik Roshan as Arjun, Ranbir Kapur as Nakul, Abhishek Bachchan as Sahdev, Javed Jafri as Shakuni, Danny as Dhritrasth (ideal would have been Amrish Puri, but sad he is no more), Jaya Bachan as Gandhari, Shabana as Kunti, Priyanka Chopra as Draupadi.

These are only few names and characters with my limited knowledge. Once you start detailing it. Many more icons will surface, to take on many more challenging characters of Mahabharat.

But will this ever happen? Well nothing is impossible. The way we like watching Mughle-Azam even after half a century. This serial too shall be watched for time immemorial.

Come on Bollywood. Start thinking about it.

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

SHORT STORY: FTII- WHY DID KALCHAKRA HAVE TO PUNISH GAJENDRA SINGH CHAUHAN

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

goi gajendra chauhan kalchakra

Long time back I had read a story about a small sparrow; that goes as follows:

THE STORY OF THE SPARROW


On a beautiful winter day in Siberia, encouraged by the warm rays of the sun in a clear blue sky, a little sparrow left the security of his nest to fly and frolic in the air, but the 40o below zero temperature quickly overcame the imprudent bird who fell on the ground, frozen, and found himself buried in the snow where he would certainly have died in an instant. But by chance a cow trotted by at that moment, and at the very spot where the sparrow was struggling for his last breath, she dropped a large soft cow-dung on top of the bird. The warmth of this dung-bath resuscitated the moribund sparrow. He was so happy, he raised his head out of the cow-shit and started to twitter joyfully, which drew the attention of a wandering homeless cat who delicately pulled the sparrow out of the shit and devoured him.

The moral of this story: Your enemy is not necessarily the one who shits on your head. Your friend, however, is not necessarily the one who pulls you out of the shit. And besides, one should never twitter when one is buried in shit.

The recent controversy in FTII in which actor Gajendra Singh Chauhan got caught up reminded me of the above story, where for no fault of his, Gajendra is in the cross fire. Can we call it the wrath of Kalchakra?

For Gajendra too like the little sparrow was perched in his warm nest, quite away from the limelight doing small roles in movies and television serials, is when the GOI approached him as the warm rays of Siberia and Gajendra then dared to fly out of his nest, quite unaware of the Siberian winters—in this case being the sting of FTII- students.

The new job like the cow-dung covered Gajendra for a while when the wandering cats of Bollywood, Social Media, TV-channels and some Political Parties and so also the students union of FTII, who thought he did not have the tall stature, and moreover, he had committed the grevious crime of acting as Yudhistir in Mahabharat, thereby promoting Hinduism was definitely not suitable for the post. Because, in current day India even talking about Hinduism is considered non-secular by some.

While the wandering cats have so far not devoured the so called sparrow—Gajendra, but the Kalchakra has definitely crushed his film career. For Gajendra Singh Chauhan will now be known more for his poor stalk in Bollywood than the hard-work he has put in to make a career in Bollywood. And quite unknowingly and unintentionally he has antagonised and estranged many bigwigs of Bollywood and the social media; and has emerged as a full-fledged victim of Kalchakra.

    But what was his fault in all of this; that the electronic media almost stripped him naked as far as his career credentials went, that people who didn’t know about his average career also know about it now.

Kalchakra is not in the business of compensating losses and therefore won’t compensate Gajendra Singh Chauhan, for having torn apart his career and making him a laughing stock. I don’t know about GOI how they will view it. But the reality is,

    In life you often don’t get into problems because of your own doings, but it could also be the doing of others and in this case it was clearly the Kalchakra disguised as GOI.

For in life you really don’t know what will come and hit you, or who is friend and how distant is your enemy. But mind you Kalchakra spares no one, not even the wandering cats.

***

SARBJIT SINGH’S SISTER RECOUNTS THE 3 TIMES SHE MET HIM IN 23 YEARS BEFORE HE DIED IN 2013

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

New Doc 67_1New Doc 68_1

This is a nostalgic account narrated by Dalbir Singh, elder sister of Sarbjit Singh:

  • Sarbjit Singh had to spend 23 years in a Pakistani prison for a small mistake he committed unknowingly, and eventually he was murdered there—He headed in the wrong direction, towards Pakistan, at night after working in his fields located close to the LOC in Punjab and was nabbed by Pakistani rangers.
  • It is an emotional account of a sister; and pixels well about their relationship.
  • Dalbir Singh, Sarabjit’s elder sister considered him as her son. And after Sarabjit was whisked away by Pakistani authorities for 23 years she slept on the floor to please her God for his safe return.
  • It is said; sometimes there is success in defeat and sometimes there is defeat in success—it was success in defeat for Dalbir. For one cannot fathom the turbulence Dalbir must have undergone for 23 long years, each time blaming only herself that she hasn’t done enough to save her brother and she must continue with bigger and untiring efforts—so that was her success; and in the end not being able to save Sarbjit, her defeat.
  • I liked the account as it reminded me of my defeat, when I too could not save my ailing son from cancer, but like Dalbir the untiring  efforts that me and my family had put in gave a whiff of success. For in life one should only try his best and not get intimidated by what is beyond one’s capacity.
  • It also gives an account of how Indian prisoners are treated in Pakistani prisons.

  • Briefly describes how Indian prisoners are treated in Pakistani prisons.
  • Soon to be released as a film.

TOI- 26.5.15

SARBJIT SINGH’S SISTER RECOUNTS THE 3 TIMES SHE MET HIM IN 23 YEARS BEFORE HE DIED IN 2013

I am now determined to tell the world the real story of Sarbjit

Dalbir Singh, 61, is the older sister of Sarbjit Singh, a farmer from Bhikhiwind in Punjab (just 5 kms from the the Indo-Pakistan border). He by mistake crossed over in 1990 while farming, got mistaken as an Indian spy, was given capital punishment in 1991, but was not hanged. He was kept in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore for 23 years, before he was killed by inmates a few days after the death of Afzal Guru in India. During his 23 years in jail, his older sister Dalbir Singh who treated him more like her son than her brother, made it her life’s agenda to get him released. While she finally did not succeed, she is determined to reach his real story to the world through a film being made based on his life. The film will be directed by Omung Kumar, the National Award-winning director of Mary Kom. Dalbir Singh met her brother only three times in those 23 years. She opens up to us for the first time after her brother’s death in 2013 and recounts the three times she met her brother in jail. Excerpts:

Did instance like the Kargil War affect you?

At the time of Kargil, I got very scared. There is a nearby village called Khasa, where many army officers live. I went to meet them and asked Brigadier sahab, given the situation how it would affect the way Pakistan would treat our prisoners. I was scared that if there would be war, how would the prisoners come out? I met another Brigadier who told me that if there would be war, we would open up the jail and release the prisoners, so that an innocent man should not get bombed and die in jail. But he didn’t know what the Pakistanis would do. We would feel scared that Khuda na kare, if there was a bomb thrown in jail, how would he be able to run? My heart would sink if there was a flood or earthquake in Lahore.

How did Sarbjit actually cross over to Pakistan?

Our village is just about 4-5 kms from the border. I myself have gone many times to the other side while working together with the women from the other side on our fields. We would be working on our respective fields and sometimes, even eat a meal together with the Pakistani brothers and sisters on the other side.

Gradually and slowly, the situation got bad to worse and they first put a rough line to segregate a boundary and then, there were some fundamentalists on both sides who did not have good thoughts. Though I believe that ours were not as negative as the people on the other side. There would be things smuggled in across the borders, but the women had good behaviour towards each other and there was no enemity. However, if there was anybody who went the other side by mistake, they would be caught and put behind bars termed as ‘spies’. That night, we had finished our dinner when a friend of Sarbjit came and took him to the fields to work. The field was right next to the border. As is usually the case in Punjab, the men drink and then work. Sarbjit and his friend too had their full share of drinks and then, Sarbjit put his axe on his shoulder and not realising which direction he was walking, he walked into the Pakistan side. At that time, there was not even a wire to show the borderline. He was caught and blindfolded and only the next morning, he realised that he was in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, accused of being an Indian spy by the name of Manjit Singh. Sarbjit was very fond of playing kabaddi and he would often tell me, ‘You wait and see. One day the world will know me as this famous pahelwan.’ I didn’t know then that he would one day become world famous, but not as a kabaddi player. When Sarabjit suddenly disappeared, I initially thought that he must have been picked up by a terrorist group. But it was after nine months, later when he was first presented in the Pakistani courts that he wrote a letter to me telling us how he had been arrested accused of being a man called Manjit Singh, who was allegedly behind four bomb blasts. He asked to please get Shri Akhand Sahib path done. After that in every subsequent letter; he wrote to me details of what he went through. I have all his letters kept in a big bag with me. On August 15, 1991, he was held guilty and sentenced to be hanged. But for so many years, they neither released him nor hanged him despite my making so many appeals and requests for his forgiveness, even though he had committed no crime.

Why was it difficult for you to meet him?

I did not even have a passport, but right from 1990, I tried a lot to go but I never got the permission. At times, I would read in the newspapers that yes, his family can come and meet him, but then there was a call from Pakistan that there was news printed there that they would not grant us permission. Finally I met Rahul Gandhi and took his help to get the visa for me and finally got the visa along with my husband, Sarbjit’s wife and his two daughters Swapandeep and Poonam (Swapandeep was adopted by Dalbir as she does not have kids of her own). While we got the visa and reached Lahore, we were still not allowed to meet him. The jail authorities would say that they had not got permission from Islamabad and Islamabad would say that Lahore had not given the permission. After nine days of feeling mentally tortured, living in Gurudwara Dera Sahib there, I decided to appeal in the High Court. The judge was very kind and he immediately granted permission. It was too late that day, but the next day on April 23, 2008, we all went to jail to see Sarbjit.

What happened in jail that day?

He had been kept in a tiny room where you could hardly stand up with tall walls outside with a big lock. A mother can easily recognise her son. As soon as they opened the door to his room for us to go inside, I recognised him. He was standing at an angle and seeing him, my heart was sinking. His eyesight had gone weak and he wore a broken pair of glasses tied with a thread to hold them together: I told him, ‘At least you could have worn proper glasses.’ He said, ‘I got a lot of gaalis to even get this.’ I remembered that in one of his letters to me, he had written how his eyes burn and itch but the authorities would abuse and harass him, but not give him medicines and glasses. I wanted to hug him but I was not allowed to do so even once, so I held his hand and sat down on the other side of the bars next to him. I held his hands and told him, “Sarbjit, I wish I could have turned blind before seeing you like this.’ I cried profusely so much so, that I fell down holding the bars and got hurt in my forehead. That day knowing we were coming to meet him, he had requested the jail authorities to allow him some water, cold drink and ingredients for tea, as he wanted to make tea for me and serve me. They had given him a stove and he had made tea himself, sticking his hands out of the bars, and then kept it in a flask to serve us later. When I fell down, he got hassled and quickly gave me water and cold drink. Most of the 48 minutes went into crying, but fortunately he met his daughters and we talked a little about his case. I also tied him rakhi and he said, ‘I have nothing to give you today.’ He had tears in his eyes, but he tried to hide them from me even though I knew. I fed him with a piece of barfi like I always did and he bit my hand with his teeth. He said, ‘You have come to give me strength, then why are you scared?’ He recognised his daughters as he had seen their pictures through the newspaper reports. He told me how the Indian prisoners would send him newspaper cuttings hidden behind his rotis. And these he stored in the register he had kept. At that time he was sure he would come back. The one regret that I had was that I was not allowed to hug him.

What was his jail like?

There was no fan inside but outside for us, there was a small fan kept. Inside his room, he had a small pot of water with which he had to manage for the whole day, his bathing, washing clothes, using the washroom or drinking.

Did you visit him again?

I met him again in 2011, when he showed me a diary and register, where he said that he had written every word of what had happened to him in those many years. I wanted that diary after he died, as I wanted everyone to know what he went through in jail, but it was not given to me. When his body came in 2013, only that clay pot came with it. I got to meet him for three hours in 2011. And on this visit, I went to visit him twice. Unlike the last visit, this time he had not taken his bath, not prepared anything for me and looked indifferent. He was quiet and I asked him what happened? He said, ‘Didi, for many days, I don’t even eat or sleep or take a bath and I keep thinking why I am in this state and I keep thinking whether I will come back or not. I can’t even tell you what I go through here.’ I felt that if he kept thinking like that, he would get mentally ill. I summed up strength to give him some and wanted to tie many rakhis that I had taken from here, many of which had been given to me by women in the village. He said, ‘Chalo, you give them to me. I will keep tying it up slowly later.’ I said, ‘No, why are you talking like this? You will be with me in our aangan on the next rakhi.’ It’s only when I visited him for the second time that he was waiting for me, ready to serve me lassi that he had made mixing curd and water and the jail dal. He knew that I was the only one he could tell and told me how they would abuse Indians a lot there. If you ask the jail authorities for medicines or glasses or water, they would say, ‘Aaj bahar nikale? Aaj paani pilaye hi dete hain tumhe.’ He said, ‘Sometimes, they would beat me, sometimes I managed by begging them for forgiveness.’

Was it ever proven that Sarbjit had been convicted wrongly?

The sole witness of the Pakistani police Shaukat Ali was once interviewed by an Indian journalist, who managed to find him there and he said, ‘I don’t know whether Sarbjit has done it and whether he is Manjit or Sarbjit. Those days, my father had died and the police had asked me to say that Sarbjit was Manjit and that he had committed the bomb blasts in court and I said it.’

How did he finally die?

Over the years, there were many times when I would wonder if he would ever come back, but then again, I would meet people and get assured that he would come back. I had kept all the navratras, slept on the floor for 23 years, but it was after meeting SM Krishnaji, the External Affairs minister, that I felt most assured that Sarbjit would be released for sure. I don’t know from where I got the strength to fight, but I was determined and had decided that I would fight, come what may. But I quickly trust people and start feeling they are my own, but got cheated each time. Before Sheikh sahab, all the lawyers who represented us took the money from us, but cheated us in court. They did not even present our case of him not being Manjit even though they had the papers proving that. Afzal Guru had been hanged in India a couple of days before Sarbjit was attacked in prison. We learnt that there was a man who would go inside jail and supply sharpened spoons and knives made from sandooks inside jail to the prisoners there. I feel the Pakistani prisoners there took Afzal’s revenge by killing Sarabjit. I was with Swapandeep the day he was attacked. I had been having a severe back problem for two days and was in terrible pain. I could not sleep and was restless when suddenly I got a call from Pakistan telling me how he had been attacked. I screamed and woke up Swapandeep who was sleeping, but I thought we would still be able to treat him and get him back alive. It’s only when I got his body in the hospital in Lahore that I finally broke down and realised that I had lost my son forever: Uss pal meri umeed bhi khatam ho gayi aur intezaar bhi.

Are you free now?

No, I try but I can never forget Sarbjit. I wish he had come back. For 23 years, my only goal was to get him released. But now, I want people to know who he actually was. What happened with Sarbjit inside jail? What happens to Indians inside Pakistani jails? There is an innocent Pakistani prisoner in Tihar, who has paralysis, that Sarbjit would tell me about. Through this film, I want a message to go to all. I could not bring back Sarbjit, but I hope that this Pakistani child in Tihar is released.

Priya.Gupta@timesgroup.com